My wife and I have personally had really bad experiences with both Delta and United. Not by the flight and cabin crews, but by everyone else. My wife got stranded in MSP for a day on her way to see a friend for a weekend. Burned up about 18 hours. She was left high and dry at the airport with no vouchers for food or drink. All because they let her connecting flight leave the gate 10 minutes prior to the published time. Thank you, Delta, for stranding my wife.
United put us over a barrel with an early departure, too. I was up in Syracuse visiting relatives. The morning of our afternoon departure day, I went online to check in. The system would not let me, and gave me some very generic error. Tried and tried, and received a few different errors, none of which told me a thing. So I called customer service. Boy howdy... was that fun. 10 minutes of listening to crap hold music and the reminder that my call was oh so very important to them. Finally get a CSR on the line (pet peeve: when I enter just about every bit of personal information into the phone's keypad, including my flight number, reservation number, last four of my SSN, phone number, etc., why in the WORLD do I need to repeat all of that crap to the CSR??? WTF is the point?). This gal was a winner. After reconfirming all of my personal information that I've already entered, the conversation goes something very much like this:
CSR: "Ah. Yes. Your flight is departing in 30 minutes. You can't do an online check-in less than an hour prior to departure."
Me: "Wait... 30 minutes? That flight is supposed to depart at 4:30!"
CSR: "Well, looks like it's been moved back to 12:30. So, you can't check in less that an hour from departure."
Me: "What?? That's four hours early! How was I supposed to know that? Why did it get moved so early?"
CSR: "I'm not sure, sir. But, the flight depart in 30 minutes. Should be boarding soon. Anything else I can help you with?"
Me: "Um... yes! I'm still at my hotel... we aren't even PACKED yet!"
CSR: "Can you make it to the airport in time?"
Me... nearly shaking in rage at this point, but still relatively controlled on the phone: "Can I make it to the... didn't you just hear me say that we are still at the hotel and not packed yet?"
CSR: "Well, I'm sorry sir. The flight leaves in 30 minutes. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Me, now becoming pretty upset at the CSR: "Yes, yes there is. You can book my wife and I on another flight. You guys moved the departure time far earlier than planned without any sort of notification or indication that you would do that, there is no way we can even get out of the hotel before the plane leaves the gate... you need to rebook us."
CSR: "Ok, sir. Please hold."
Literally 20 minutes later, CSR finally comes back: "Sir, still looking for a flight for you. Be right back."
5 minutes pass.
"Sir, I've rebooked you for the next United flight out of Syracuse, departing tomorrow morning at 8:00am."
Me: "Whoa whoa whoa... I'm sorry, that is not acceptable. My wife and I need to be at work tomorrow."
CSR: "Sorry sir, that is the earliest we can get you out."
Me, now really, really not happy: "Are you guys going to cover my hotel tonight?"
CSR: "Sorry sir... we can't do that."
Me: "Yeah. Ok... this is ridiculous. We need to be home... tonight. Did you check availability on other airlines?"
CSR: "No, sir."
Literally a 10 second pregnant pause while I wait for the CSR to offer to do just that.
Me: "... could... you... check... ?"
CSR: "Oh. Sure. Just a moment, sir."
Amazingly, another 15 minutes pass before she comes back:
CSR: "Sir, I found a Continental flight departing at 4:00pm. Would you like me to book that?"
Me, amazed that she did not check space availability on the airline United had purchased a few months prior to this incident: "Yes."
And so on. Most frustrating customer service experience I have ever encountered. I've not flown United since. Have no plans to do so any time in the near or far future. I weep for the loss of Continental, as I had nothing but good experiences with them.